Pic: Helen Bulmer of the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit and Fisheries Enforcement Support Service Intelligence Manager Gary Thomas, with the newly signed Intelligence Sharing Agreement

The Angling Trust has signed an important Information Sharing Agreement with the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit, setting out the framework and protocols for the sharing of information and intelligence in a legally compliant, secure and responsible way.

The agreement was signed on the 18th July 2017 by the Angling Trust Fisheries Enforcement Support Service’s Intelligence Manager, retired West Mercia Police Detective Inspector Gary Thomas.

The FESS is funded by freshwater rod licence income and is staffed by eight retired angling police officers who, in addition to delivering the popular and highly successful Voluntary Bailiff Service, coordinate a multi-agency response to fisheries crime, increasing the support available to the Environment Agency and police.

National Enforcement Manager Dilip Sarkar MBE said: “Whilst to many this will simply be the ‘small print’, this is actually a massive forward step and further evidence that the FESS is increasingly becoming a robust and recognised partner in the fight against fisheries and wildlife crime. This is a great piece of work by Gary Thomas and our partners at the NWCU.”

Intelligence Manager Gary Thomas said: “The sharing of information and intelligence between the various partners tasked with protection of our wildlife is key to protecting fish and fisheries. This helps confirm patterns in fisheries and wildlife crime, and identify offenders – enabling operational resources to be effectively deployed.

“The FESS will be actively pursuing further Information Sharing Agreements with other key enforcement agencies for the benefit of the angling community in the fight to protect fish and fisheries. This professional, joined-up approach, harnessing modern policing methods, can only mean good news for responsible, caring, anglers – but bad news for criminals and those who cheat on angling.”

Chief Inspector Martin Sims, Head of the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit said: “With the widespread training of the Voluntary Bailiff Service, with which our Unit has assisted, I am really pleased to see this agreement signed. With the significant number of extra eyes and ears out in the countryside as Volunteer Bailiffs, this agreement makes good sense in assisting the free and legally compliant flow of wildlife crime information and intelligence being passed directly to the Unit so that we can progress it in a timely manner with respective police forces.

“I would like to thank Dilip Sarkar and Gary Thomas of the FESS, and Helen Bulmer in my team for progressing this.”